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quotations about truth and honesty



Truth sits upon the lips of dying men.
- - - Matthew Arnold "Sohrab and Rustum"

The truth shall make you free.
- - - Bible, John 8:32

Honesty is the rarest wealth anyone can possess, and yet all the honesty in the world ain't lawful tender for a loaf of bread.
- - - Josh Billings

A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
- - - William Blake "Auguries of Innocence"

Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented.
- - - Georges Braque

For truth there is no deadline.
- - - Heywood Broun

No one can earn a million dollars honestly.
- - - William Jennings Bryan

Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again.
- - - William Cullen Bryant

Acting is all about honesty. If you can fake that you've got it made.
- - - George Burns

The easiest person to deceive is one's self.
- - - Edward George Bulwer-Lytton "The Disowned" 1828

There is a case for telling the truth; there is a case for avoiding the scandal; but there is no possible defense for the man who tells the scandal, but does not tell the truth
- - - G. K. Chesterton

'Tis strange - but true; for truth is always strange;
Stranger than fiction.
- - - George Gordon, Lord Byron "Don Juan"

Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.
- - - Albert Camus "The Fall" 1957

Truth is the highest thing that man may keep.
- - - Geoffrey Chaucer "Canterbury Tales. The Frankeleines Tale"

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
- - - Winston Churchill

It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.
- - - Winston Churchill

Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
- - - Winston Churchill

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. Ignorance may deride it. But in the end, there it is.
- - - Winston Churchill

The exact contrary of what is generally believed is often the truth.
- - - Jean de La Bruyere

The truth will make you free, but first it will make you miserable.
- - - Tom DeMarco

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
- - - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle "The Sign of Four"

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.
- - - Albert Einstein

The highest compact we can make with our fellow is -
"Let there be truth between us two forevermore."
- - - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.
- - - Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can't cheat an honest man.
- - - W. C. Fields

Truth is the glue that holds government together.
- - - Gerald R. Ford, Speech, 9 Aug. 1974, on succeeding Richard Nixon as president.

A lie stands on one leg, truth on two.
- - - Benjamin Franklin

Even if all parts of a problem seem to fit together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, one has to remember that the probable need not necessarily be the truth and the truth not always probable.
- - - Sigmund Freud

Truth is completely spontaneous. Lies have to be taught.
- - - Richard Buckminster Fuller Jr.

Truth never damages a cause that is just.
- - - Mohandas K. Gandhi "Non-Violence in Peace and War"

Whores are the most honest girls. They present the bill right away.
- - - Alberto Giacometti

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
- - - André Gide

Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. It encourages a man to be expansive, even reckless, while lie detectors are only a challenge to tell lies successfully.
- - - Graham Greene

The truth has never been of any real value to any human being--it is a symbol for mathematicians and philosophers to pursue. In human relations kindness and lies are worth a thousand truths.
- - - Graham Greene

A society committed to the search for truth must give protection to, and set a high value upon, the independent and original mind, however angular, however rasping, however socially unpleasant it may be; for it is upon such minds, in large measure, that the effective search for truth depends.
- - - Caryl P. Haskins

Truth made you a traitor as it often does in a time of scoundrels.
- - - Lillian Hellman

I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true.
- - - Katherine Hepburn

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people.
- - - F. M. Hubbard

An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling lie.
- - - Aldous Huxley "Brave New World Revisited" 1958

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
- - - Aldous Huxley

All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.
- - - Thomas Henry Huxley "On the Study of Biology"

The spirit of truth and the spirit of freedom--they are the pillars of society.
- - - Henrik Ibsen

The road to truth is long, and lined the entire way with annoying bastards.
- - - Alexander Jablokov "The Place of No Shadows"

The advertisement is the most truthful part of a newspaper.
- - - Thomas Jefferson

It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.
- - - Jerome K. Jerome

Truth is the safest lie.
- - - Jewish Proverb

Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.
- - - Immanuel Kant

Beauty is truth, truth beauty,-that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- - - John Keats "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie- deliberate, contrived and dishonest- but the myth- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.
- - - John F. Kennedy

It's the truth even if it didn't happen.
- - - Ken Kesey

Honesty is the best policy, but insanity is a better defense.
- - - Steve Landesberg

In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.
- - - John Lilly

The greatest homage we can pay to truth, is to use it.
- - - James Russell Lowell

Peace if possible, but truth at any rate.
- - - Martin Luther

I would not favour a fiction to keep a whole world out of hell. The hell that a lie would keep any man out of is doubtless the very best place for him to go to. It is truth... that saves the world.
- - - George MacDonald

Man has no nobler function than to defend the truth.
- - - Ruth McKenney

Truth uttered before its time is dangerous.
- - - Mencius

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.
- - - H. L. Mencken

The smallest atom of truth represents some man's bitter toil and agony; for every ponderable chunk of it there is a brave truth-seeker's grave upon some lonely ash-dump and a soul roasting in hell.
- - - H. L. Mencken "Prejudices"

I never know how much of what I say is true.
- - - Bette Midler

The dictum that truth always triumphs over persecution is one of the pleasant falsehoods which men repeat after one another till they pass into commonplaces, but which all experience refutes.
- - - John Stuart Mill

Servant of God, well done! well hast thou fought
The better fight, who single hast maintain'd
Against revolted multitudes the cause of truth.
- - - John Milton "Paradise Lost"

Truth is as impossible to be soiled by any outward touch as the sunbeam.
- - - John Milton "Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce"

Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth- to see it like it is, and tell it like it is- to find the truth, to speak the truth, and to live the truth.
- - - Richard M. Nixon , Speech, 9 Aug. 1968, Miami, accepting the presidential nomination.

I preach there are all kinds of truth, your truth and somebody else's. But behind all of them there is only one truth and that is that there's no truth.
- - - Flannery O'Connor "Wise Blood"

Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
- - - George Orwell

Truth never envelops itself in mystery, and the mystery in which it is at any time enveloped is the work of its antagonist, and never of itself.
- - - Thomas Paine

He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.
- - - Charles Peguy

Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
- - - Franklin D. Roosevelt, radio address, October 26, 1939

All truth passes through 3 stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
- - - Arthur Schopenhauer

This above all; to thine own self be true.
- - - William Shakespeare "Hamlet"

Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance.
- - - William Shakespeare

Truth is truth
To the end of reckoning.
- - - William Shakespeare "Measure for Measure"

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her, though I know she lies.
- - - William Shakespeare "Sonnet 138"

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
- - - George Bernard Shaw

The simple step of a courageous individual is not to take part in the lie. One word of truth outweighs the world.
- - - Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The truth is always the strongest argument.
- - - Sophocles

Truly, to tell lies is not honorable;
but when the truth entails tremendous ruin,
To speak dishonorably is pardonable.
- - - Sophocles

There are only two ways of telling the complete truth--anonymously and posthumously.
- - - Thomas Sowell

The moment we begin to fear the opinions of others and hesitate to tell the truth that is in us, and from motives of policy are silent when we should speak, the divine floods of light and life no longer flow into our souls.
- - - Elizabeth Cady Stanton

What is the difference between unethical and ethical advertising? Unethical advertising uses falsehoods to deceive the public; ethical advertising uses truth to deceive the public.
- - - Vilhjalmur Stefansson

You will find that the truth is often unpopular and the contest between agreeable fancy and disagreeable fact is unequal. For, in the vernacular, we Americans are suckers for good news.
- - - Adlai E Stevenson

It is better to be quotable than to be honest.
- - - Tom Stoppard

Change lays not her hand upon truth.
- - - Algernon Charles Swinburne

Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.
- - - Henry David Thoreau

There is not greatness where there is not simplicity, goodness and truth.
- - - Leo Tolstoy "War and Peace"

I am different from Washington; I have a higher, grander standard of principle. Washington could not lie. I can lie, but I wont.
- - - Mark Twain

Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.
- - - Mark Twain

Beware of the half truth. You may have gotten hold of the wrong half.
- - - Unknown

There are truths which are not for all men, nor for all occasions.
- - - Voltaire

I have found that nothing so deceives your adversaries as telling them the truth.
- - - Otto von Bismarck

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.
- - - Oscar Wilde

I have never seasoned a truth with the sauce of a lie in order to digest it more easily
- - - Marguerite Yourcenar

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